Mike Dwyer, director of global policy for USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service, never gets tired of giving speeches these days.

The message is the same: Worldwide agriculture is a three trillion dollar business and in the U.S., the agriculture sector is leading the recovery from our most recent economic recession.

When speaking to a recent meeting of the North Carolina soybean, corn, cotton and small grain associations, Dwyer gave the speech for the 17th time, including four continents and 10 countries.

“If you are a farmer anywhere in the world, and you get world prices for your crops, the story is a very optimistic one for you,” Dwyer said.

“When I talk about the prosperity of farming, I’m talking about two primary things: balance sheet and income sheet. Both are doing extremely well,” he added.

Net farm income in the U.S. alone topped $103 billion — a big-time record for American agriculture. Dwyer said this income record is net income, after all the input costs have been figured into the equation.

The other all time high for agriculture is a $2 trillion net equity in farms in the U.S. This is largely due to the rise in price of agriculture’s No. 1 asset — land.

While the value of real estate in the U.S. has taken a dramatic hit during the recession, the price of farmland has risen, because the value of farm land is based on how much income it can produce.

“In my 30-year career in agriculture, I could rarely say agriculture is a top performing industry, and now it is. And, the beauty of prosperity in U.S. agriculture is that isn’t coming at the expense of U.S. taxpayers. Payments from the federal government to farmers are at a 20-year low, down by $15 billion from 2005,” Dwyer said.

The USDA economist said the best is yet to come for farmers in the U.S. and around the world. The 10-year outlook is for continued growth and prosperity, which will be driven by a handful of economic factors globally.

“In the U.S. we are a nation of middle class buyers. If you get a raise in pay in January, your total cost for food will not go up. You may eat out more or you may change your diet, but your overall cost for food will not change much,” Dwyer said